Friday, July 31, 2020

More Friday Snark

This is from PJ Media's Insanity Wrap #18 by Stephen Green. Yep, he's the same smart aleck cited below.

Perhaps the only thing standing between us and total destruction is an oddly-hued former reality-show host who somehow — thank goodness! — managed to tweet himself into the Oval Office. Clearly, we live now in the craziest of all possible timelines.

Friday Snark

Instapundit regular Stephen Green posts the following Tweet, with which I sadly agree.

Which makes it worth doing.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Fun Factoid

Poking around at Wikipedia, I found an interesting statistic. According to this chart, my vote for president, as a voting citizen of Wyoming, carries more weight than that of the citizen of any other state. How can this be, you might ask? The chart explains:
Each state has a number of votes in the Electoral College equal to two more than its number of representatives in the U.S. House.
And, each state, however small its population, gets a minimum of one member of the House. As the state with the smallest population, WY voters get relatively more clout than others. 

The smaller the population per electoral college vote, the greater the clout per person. For WY, the figure is 192,920 people per ECV. The closest rival is VT with 207,996 per ECV. At the other end of the scale, TX is the loser with 763,050 per ECV. 

Following this year's census, those numbers will change marginally. These are based on 2019 estimates.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Barr: The Evil of Progressivism

Steven Hayward of Power Line posts excerpts of the speech Attorney General William Barr made at the annual Federalist Society Conference. I particularly like this long paragraph.
In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.
Societies can be reshaped, humans cannot. Thus, progressivism is doomed to fail. 

Hopeful Signs

There are some tentative signs out there that Trump might just win the upcoming presidential election. If you are interested in reading a couple of the articles, go here and here

I particularly liked the finding that blue collar white women find Trump authentic, they say he is "a normal guy, not a phony." He speaks their language. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for links to both.

Kass Fights Back

John Kass writes for the Chicago Tribune, and a quick search shows I’ve referenced his writings 7-8 times here at COTTonLINE. Now he’s under attack for correctly pointing out the efforts of George Soros to help elect soft-on-crime prosecutors in major cities. 

Kass’ critics have accused him of anti-Semitism as Soros had Jewish parents. This accusation is a crock of crap. Are those critical of Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein or Bernie Madoff anti-Semitic? 

Does two thousand years of very real anti-Semitism mean one cannot accuse a Jewish person of wrong-doing, when the accusation is accurate? Of course it doesn't.

The truth: those critical of Kass dislike his politics, which can be conservative. As fellow Tribune employees, they’d like his conservative voice to “go away” or be silenced. One sincerely hopes the Tribune will show the backbone the Wall Street Journal did and tell the whiners to stuff it.

AG Barr Quotes

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General William Barr said some things worth repeating, quoted here from an New York Sun article.
Federal courts are under attack. Since when is it okay to try and burn down a federal court?

This is the first time in my memory that the leaders of one of our great two political parties — the Democratic Party — are not coming out and condemning mob violence and the attack on federal courts. Why can’t we just say, you know, violence against federal courts has to stop?
Time was the Democrats were the party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion. Everybody’s cool with the first two now, but the Dems still won’t give up on the Rebellion. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dems Favor Violence and Rioting

Power Line's John Hinderaker reacts to the disgraceful treatment Attorney General William Barr received today at the hands of the House Judiciary Committee's Democrat majority, and the attitudes they revealed while so doing.
We are approaching a very weird election in which one of our major parties is taking a stand in favor of rioting, looting, arson, destruction of federal property, and violent attacks on law enforcement. The Democrats seem to think that this is a winning formula. If it is, our republic is doomed.
In years past this platform would not have been a winner, so perhaps it will not work this year. If it proves to be a winner, we'll have to cope somehow, perhaps by declaring our independence from the blue states.

Weird Hydrological Science

RealClearScience links to a study done at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. It found that areas of the world with above normal levels of naturally occurring lithium in the public water supply have lower than normal levels of suicide.
Lithium, sometimes referred to as the ‘Magic Ion’, is widely and effectively used as a medication for the treatment and prevention of manic and depressive episodes, stabilising mood and reducing the risk of suicide in people with mood disorders. Its anti-aggressive properties can help reduce impulsivity, aggression, violent criminal behaviour and chronic substance abuse.
Seems logical.

Weird Immunological Science

RealClearScience links to a research report in The Scientist. The research finds people who have flu shots regularly are substantially (30%) less likely to develop Alzheimer's. Other reported research finds people who have had pneumonia shots are also, independently, less likely to get Alzheimer's.
“Some vaccines show beneficial off-target effects on health that span beyond the protection against specific disease. This could be because they may improve immunity on a broad scale.” (snip) The brain’s immune system has long been implicated in the onset of Alzheimer’s—specifically, a disruption in the brain’s microglial cells—and general immune system health could therefore be an important mediator of cognitive decline.
Of course, it might also be true that smarter people are more likely to be immunized and, starting with more brain power, begin declining from a higher level. As you might guess, the article doesn't mention this semi-plausible possibility.

MI Focus Group: Biden Senile

Website organized a focus group of 9 Michigan voters who share a characteristic: they voted for Obama in 2012, then for Trump in 2016. Let’s call them swing voters, people who might vote for either party. 

Asked about voting for Biden, the panelists were skeptical to say the least. Axios tends to be somewhat liberal, I give them props for printing what people said, when I’m sure they didn’t like the comments.

"I just feel that what he’s saying is not making any sense to me," said Sharon T. of Biden's television appearances. She called Biden "a puppet" for wearing a mask in public, suggesting that he was only doing it to be politically correct.

Many of these voters prioritize the economy as their #1 issue in this election and continue to trust Trump on that issue, saying the economy was doing well before the pandemic.

In addition to improving the economy and trying to bring more jobs to the U.S., Jeff O. said he's picking Trump because "I don’t think that Biden is mentally capable of being president."

Matt T. described Biden as "up there in age" and "showing signs of dementia" as well as "a puppet" who is "controlled by a lot of people in the deep state." He went on to define that term as "the lobbyists, the people that have the big money, the people that have influence on a lot of the politicians."

Shelley D. said she recently watched a YouTube video compilation of Biden's "blunders" and "all these ridiculous things that come out of his mouth or his stuttering."
Only two of the nine said they were voting for Biden. 

Barr’s Opening Statement

Attorney General William Barr has released the text of his prepared opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee. It is good, it is powerful, and it isn’t very long, less than 6 pages of typescript.

Scott Johnson of Power Line has linked to it at their website. You might want to read it for yourself.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Three-Quarters Worry About Urban Crime

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff links to an article in The Hill which reports findings of a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll looking at public attitudes regarding crime.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents say they are concerned that crime is rising in the nation’s cities, while 46 percent of respondents said they were concerned about rising crime in their own communities.

They see an increase of violence and crime and are concerned that prosecutors are not prosecuting the crimes.

A New York Times analysis published earlier this month showed that overall crime down is done 5.3 percent in 25 large U.S. cities in relation to last year. Violent crime was down 2 percent, according to the findings.

However, murder in the same 25 cities is up 16.1 percent compared to 2019, according to the Times.
Crime was down because everybody, including criminals, stayed home for Covid-19 for a couple of months. Murder may have been up for the same reason, paradoxically.

The political implications of concern about crime and urban violence are clear if you understand which party people associate with "law and order." Hint: It's not the Democrats. Antifa may cost Biden the election.

Curators of Decline

I’ll admit I haven’t checked every one of the following claims. However, I see nothing that is obviously false, and most of it has what we once called “face validity,” meaning it is sure as heck plausible.

The source is a website of a Denver talk radio show, The Kim Monson Show, hat tip to Stephen Green, a regular at Instapundit for the link. She posts a column by Richard Turnquist who argues Democrats are unfit to govern, his evidence:
All but 3 of America’s largest cities are run by Democratic mayors. The 3 largest cities – New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are losing population every year.

Several of the most violent cities in America, including Albuquerque, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago and Washington, DC are run by Democrats.

States that are bleeding population every year due to high taxation, over-regulation, decaying cities and failing public services including New York, Connecticut, California and others are all run by Democrats.

States that have low to no income taxes, are right-to-work and favor energy development do better economically than high tax, forced union and energy unfriendly states. According to the annual economic outlook rankings published by the American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform, in 2019 the bottom ten states were all run by Democrats and the top 10 states except two were run by Republicans.
That sounds about right to me, no obvious flaws. The American Dream lives on in red states while it’s death is curated by Democrats in blue states and deep blue cities. Your choice in November is clear, vote for the Dream or vote for its death. In short: MAGA.

Pay Attention!

I’m confused. I see reports like this and this, from people who should be listened to, who claim hydrochloroquine, in combination with some other meds. is a great treatment for Covid-19.

I also see reports that it has no benefits whatsoever, from equally reputable sources. Both cannot be true.

Leave Donald Trump out of it, he’d be the first to admit he’s no pharmaceutical expert. How can there be reputable scientific reports that point in totally opposite directions? Can somebody please explain this in ways an intelligent layman can understand?

Are some (or all?) of these people lying or are the ways and combinations in which the drug is administered crucial in its success or failure? These questions badly need answering and nobody seems to notice or care that credentialed experts are on all sides of this issue.

Let me be an academic for a moment, what is needed is a meta-analysis of all the rigorous studies reported in reputable sources so far. Somebody with the relevant expertise (that lets me out), get busy and do it.

CA Aging Faster, Hollowing Out

Joel Kotkin has been one of the most trenchant documenters of California’s decline. Here he is interviewed by RealClearPolitics on the subject of a trend, pronounced in CA, toward neo-feudalism. All of the interview is germane, here is my favorite paragraph.
California, the state that long symbolized youthfulness, has become far better to older folks like me who came when the getting was good. New Californians, and the children of the Baby Boomers, largely cannot afford a house, and few earn enough to even think about it. When people hit their 30s, they are forced to choose whether to stay in this remarkably attractive state or start an adult life elsewhere. Now we are aging 50% faster than the rest of the country. The surveys show that it’s minorities and millennials who generally are most dissatisfied. The older cohorts may not like all the changes, but they often have made a fortune from their homes, protected by Proposition 13. Public employees can retire on plush pensions. Meanwhile the tech elite depends on imported labor, both for skilled labor and low-end services.
We have written before about CA being a haven for retirees who’ve made enough to handle the stratospheric housing prices and abusive state taxes. It is still one of the nicest places I know to reside, for the affluent.

Coastal CA between SF and LA is amazing.  The year round absence of urban sprawl, humidity, snow and fierce heat is close to unique. The DrsC spend a couple of months there every year, as happy visitors.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Quick Turnaround

I wrote yesterday that current unrest in cities will lead to vigilantism. It didn't take long for that prediction to be borne out.

Today Instapundit posts several paragraphs of a Wall Street Journal article (behind their paywall) which reports budding vigilantism in Minneapolis, where the trouble started.
Minneapolis residents in some areas still recovering from rioting and unrest are forming community watch and security groups, some bearing firearms, to fight a surge of crime in the wake of the George Floyd killing in May. At least one neighborhood has put up barricades to keep away outsiders.

After a number of community meetings, neighbors began constructing a barrier to close off two blocks of their street, first with trash cans, then debris. For a while, a boat on a trailer protected one intersection. Eventually, a nearby iron maker constructed a permanent gate. Police gave their approval as long as emergency responders could get through if requested by the neighborhood.

Neighborhood men also began an armed patrol, kicking out anyone who didn’t belong on the block after dark.
Note the phrase "Police gave their approval." Half the time vigilantes are off-duty police who aren't allowed to act forcefully in uniform. It's often reported in developing countries like Brazil.

Vigilantes don't run jails or prisons, they tend to be big on physical punishment, broken knees and the like. And deaths of course. Instapundit insists police exist to protect criminals from the citizenry, not the other way round.

Somewhere someone is writing a how-to book with a working title like "Turning your neighborhood into a gated community with armed security - a primer." It will include a chapter entitled "Pest Control" subtitled "Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up."

Down this road lives feudalism. When security evaporates, civil order is lost and local warlords with muscle provide protection for serfs who support them. Let's not go there.

Sunday Snark


Stuff starts to fail at our age, Joe. My hearing is crap, and my stamina isn’t great. Your mind is going and it isn’t your fault, we’re old. Understand your limits and don’t embarrass yourself.

Hat tip to Townhall columnist Wayne Allen Root for 'decoding' the acronym.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Responding to Lasers

The White House has announced three of their police sent to Portland have been blinded by lasers zapped into their eyes by the rioters. The likelihood of the perps ever being inside of a jail for it is near zero.

Blindness is no joke, it's not a bruise or broken bone to get over and shrug off. Ugly as this is, it's history, there is no undoing it.

On the other hand, the feds should announce that if in future a laser shows up every fed in the area will be shooting at the person holding it with real bullets and the express intent to kill. Plus announcing it would be unwise for others to be standing near a person wielding a laser as counter-battery fire is not a precision event.

Makes you wonder if Antifa has suicidal members like the jihadis, lusting for martyrdom? My guess is no. Or if they're willing to shoot from among a cluster of women and children like the Palestinians do. I'd believe they would do this, to create sympathetic, if unwilling, martyrs.

Police Chief Calls Council's Bluff

It appears that the City Council of Seattle has banned police use of non-lethal means, such as pepper spray and tear gas, in the suppression of violent riots. The Legal Insurrection website has a copy of the letter Seattle's Police Chief has sent to residents and businesses. I'll quote key passages:

The City Council Ordinance 119805 Crowd Control Tool goes into effect this weekend on Sunday, July 26, 2020. This ordinance bans Seattle Police officers the use of less lethal tools, including pepper spray that is commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent. Simply put, the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd.

For these reasons, Seattle Police will have an adjusted deployment in response to any demonstrations this weekend - as I will never ask our officers to risk their personal safety to protect property without the tools to do so in a safe way.
With the caveat that I'm no attorney, my understanding of what Chief Carmen Best has written is that the police might take some risk to protect your life and limb, as long as you don't stupidly confront looters. They won't try to protect your business, your home, your car, or any other inanimate property.

Basically, she's called the City Council's bluff. Seattle had better hope they blink, rather than fire her.

My gun-enthusiast friends view this situation as an open invitation to use their weapon(s) to protect their property. I suspect doing so would land them in jail in blue states, and some purple ones. Even in red states they may have to rely on the governor for a pardon.

The downside: Urban property insurance rates will go sky-high, if any firm will continue to issue it. Urban property values will drop. Small businesses in riot-prone areas will close, and the poor SOBs who live there will be out of luck for shopping. "Food desert" will become more than a metaphor.

The upside: Private security firms will benefit. Not suffering the police's limitations, the mob and street gangs will go into the protection game. Suburban and exurban property values will rise. Those who raise and train vicious guard dogs will be busy. Sale of armored glass, razor wire and security gates will boom.

Unintended consequences: Violence begets violence, so vigilantism is likely. Expect colorful signs proclaiming things like "This property is protected by the 27th Avenue Gangster Disciples." A popularly elected successor who actually is the tyrant Democrats claim Trump to be - in effect an American Putin - cannot be dismissed as complete fantasy if this insanity spreads to many cities.

Good and Hard

Blogging at Instapundit, regular Ed Driscoll links to an Andy Ngo article in the New York Post. Ngo, you may remember, has been a regular reporting on the Antifa riots in Portland, OR.

The article quotes an anonymous Portland cop, whose comment should be the city's epitaph:
We’re at a point where none of us knows what to do. Some are thinking we just need to give the vocal minority and the politicians what they want: We go away and let the city burn.
Brutal as that sounds, it would be karmic. Somewhere some city will experience this abandonment, and Portland has certainly earned the 'honor' of being the object lesson.

The people of Portland appear to know what they want, and as H.L.Mencken famously said of such people, they "Deserve to get it good and hard."

Friday, July 24, 2020

A Ray of Sunshine

In these trying times, when bad news seems all we see, I tend to grab a piece of good news like a drowning man grabs a life ring. That was my reaction to this story from Mediaite echoed at Outline.

It is a bad news, good news story about The Wall Street Journal with the good news winning out. Nearly 300 of the Journal’s reporters signed a letter complaining about what they perceived to be a lack of fact checking in the Opinion section of the paper. It requested greater editorial separation between Opinion and News. It echoes what happened at the New York Times. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the Journal’s management replied, in the most genteel fashion possible, that the signers could go pound sand. Here are excerpts from management’s reply:
In the spirit of collegiality, we won’t respond in kind to the letter signers. Their anxieties aren’t our responsibility in any case. The signers report to the News editors or other parts of the business, and the News and Opinion departments operate with separate staffs and editors.

It was probably inevitable that the wave of progressive cancel culture would arrive at the Journal, as it has at nearly every other cultural, business, academic and journalistic institution. But we are not the New York Times. Most Journal reporters attempt to cover the news fairly and down the middle, and our opinion pages offer an alternative to the uniform progressive views that dominate nearly all of today’s media.
In today’s media environment of decreasing staffs and closing papers, the disgruntled WSJ reporters are lucky to have jobs in journalism at all. Finding alternate professional employment will be no easy task. Most will have to knuckle under.

The WSJ’s bias to the right has been no secret for 60 years at least. If some of the signers can’t stomach it now that they’ve experienced it firsthand, I’m sure there are many on the outside who’d like their jobs.

Mind you, I’d have preferred a mass layoff of the self-identified snowflakes, but I’ll happily settle for what the Journal did.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

A People with No Friends

Nearly every week I see a story like this one in Newsweek. It is yet another author whining about the lack of public outrage at the CCP's genocidal activities vis-a-vis the Muslim Uyghurs of Xinjiang province in Western China.

Always the author questions why there is so little U.S. interest in the welfare of the Turkic citizens of the PRC. The answer may well be September 11, 2001. Whether 9-11 justifies the lack of empathy or concern is a question for someone else to answer.

I observe, however, that there doesn't seem to be much interest in the Uyghurs in Europe either. Not even their coreligionists in the Middle East seem to care, and for that I can only suggest China's vast wealth as a counterweight.

Polling You'll Like

We've been trashing polls as unreliable but here is one you'll like, given that people don't feel free to admit their political preferences. The Washington Examiner reports Rasmussen Reports finds:
A week after finding that Trump closed a 10-point gap with Biden to just 3 points, Rasmussen Reports today revealed that Trump has edged up another point as Biden hits a ceiling.

On Wednesday, the race stood at 45% for Trump and 47% for Biden, well within the poll’s margin of error.

Separately, Rasmussen said that Trump has boosted his approval rating to 49%, with 50% of respondents disapproving.

What’s more, at this stage of his presidency, former President Barack Obama also had a 49% approval rating and went on to win reelection with 51% of the vote.
We'll have to see what happens after Biden announces his VP pick, a bounce is traditional. These tend to be short-lived.

Be aware, Rasmussen polls likely voters. Most pollsters poll registered voters until a few weeks before the election when they switch to likely voters. Likely voters give more predictive results.

The Goal: Not Losing

I just read a RealClearDefense article I believe you should read, while admitting up front you may not enjoy the experience. It deals with strategy which can be boring. A tip for those with a low boredom threshold, scroll down to the last half of the column. In view of the relatively high probability you won't read it, let me summarize the argument.

Author Jacqueline E. Whitt argues that our military and those who direct them focus too much on winning vs. losing. As we have found in a variety of situations following World War II, outright winning may not be possible, for a variety of reasons. Examples: Vietnam, Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.

She argues that in quagmire situations, we should focus on not losing, and pretty much forget about winning. Her model is chronic disease, conditions like diabetes, asthma, AIDS, osteoporosis, maybe high blood pressure. Her argument is that we manage those conditions, being unable to cure them. Her analogy is that "not losing" is managing the situation whereas a cure would be "winning."

Literally millions live with those conditions and others less well known, for which there are no cures. We don't give up on them, we manage the conditions and the sufferers live on for decades. As she notes:
Consider the metaphor of war as illness. Would you prefer not to have the chronic condition? Sure. Do you ignore it and hope it goes away? You probably should not. Do you imagine winning and risk your health in other areas with drastic and untested treatments? Perhaps—but only after serious consultation about the potential risks and rewards.

More likely, you continue to treat the problem in consultation with medical professionals. You ratchet up treatments when symptoms flare. You back off when things are in remission. You keep an eye on it. You maintain a testing regime. You stay abreast of scientific advances and new research.

In this world you might never win using such a strategy—in fact, that might not even be the point. You will probably never feel like you’re at 100%. It may be extraordinarily costly and time consuming and depressing. It may prevent you from doing other things you'd rather be doing. But you, literally, live to fight another day. Such is the nature of the beast.
Full disclosure: I've dealt with an obscure "no known cure so we manage it" condition for 30+ years. Most of the time I've been darned glad to manage it and get on with my not bad life.

Suppose we viewed managing Afghanistan in a way that it doesn't injure the United States. The place has been a mess ever since the Brits and Russians played "the Great Game" in the region 180 years ago. Are we likely to turn it into a place we can walk away from congratulating ourselves on a win, on solving its problems? Not even close, the Brits failed, the Russians failed, and we'll fail - it isn't a country, it is a collection of bloodthirsty dope-growing hill tribes.

On the other hand, if we just give up we lose and it goes back to being an incubator for terrorism. An Afghanistan left to its own devices becomes a safe haven for jihadis who aren't satisfied screwing up their own country, but 'need' to screw up ours.

What Afghanistan needs is managing, which we've done in Korea by leaving a tripwire force of troops there ever since the ceasefire in 1953. Might not some similar solution work in Afghanistan? In Iraq? In a half dozen other places where no outright win is conceivable but suppressing problems is needed.

I'll repeat what I've advocated before. If we are unwilling to expend the blood to station our own troops in these places, station a foreign legion there, leavened with U.S. officers and a few tech specialists. Like treating a chronic illness, some such will be expensive, but when the alternative is worse ....

Thursday Snark

The New York Post labels Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio after a pair of comedic dummies:
New York’s version of Dumb and Dumber, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.
These two come close to winning the booby prize in the current era: a grandma killer and a police degrader, respectively.

Fear of Sharing Your Beliefs

The Daily Caller reports interesting survey findings of polling related to "cancel culture." The key finding:
A new CATO Institute/YouGov national survey found 62% of Americans say the political climate today prevents them from saying what they believe. This is up several points from 2017 when 58% of Americans said they were afraid to share their political beliefs.

“31% of liberals, 30% of moderates and 34% of conservatives are worried their political views could get them fired or harm their career trajectory,” the CATO survey stated.
These fears are not groundless for those who are employed or seeking employment, or are students or seeking admission to college or university. Taken together, these constitute a huge segment of the electorate.

In Britain they call those fearing retribution for their views "shy Tories." We might call ours "shy Republicans."

Now do you understand why political polling is often unreliable? A voice on the phone - claiming to be a pollster asking about your political beliefs - could be anyone. Maybe it's someone working for your boss, spying on your politics before deciding who to layoff.

The mainstream media has made clear to anyone paying attention what the "right" or PC answer is. In 2016 when Clinton was that year's "right answer," people lied through their teeth to pollsters.

They said they'd support Clinton when they knew they'd vote for Trump. Viola, the November surprise which shocked the crying pundits on TV.

I wouldn't recommend betting a lot against a similar outcome this November. This CATO poll almost guarantees it happening.

QAnon - A Skeptical Overview

There is a movement afoot called QAnon - started by someone using the nom de plume Q - lurking in the shadows of the dark and not-so-dark Web. There haven’t been more than a few passing mentions in the public media so don’t be surprised if you know little about it.

Executive editor of The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance, has done a quite long article looking at its history, proponents (other than Q who remains anonymous) and senior acolytes, beliefs, offshoots, and the like. It is a cluster of related conspiracy theories, some of which may contain more than a grain of truth.

For example, deep state elites running child abuse rings is one of the QAnon strands. It was the motive for a misguided believer who walked into a DC pizza parlor armed with a rifle and a pistol, and shot the locks off a storeroom door, before laying down his arms and admitting he’d been misled as to what was happening there.

That man’s info was wrong concerning the pizza parlor. OTOH Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell - wealthy members of the elite who hobnobbed with ex-presidents and royalty - were no phantasm, no hallucination. They truly were recruiting, grooming, and sexually molesting a posse of underage girls including taking them across international boundaries for the purpose, a violation of the Mann Act.

LaFrance predicts QAnon may evolve into a religious movement like the Seventh-Day Adventists or the Latter Day Saints. I suspect it will absorb those who believe the Masons or the Templars, or the Illuminati are behind the world’s ugliness.

In truth, the names of those screwing up our world are no secret, they're famous and wealthy. People like, but not limited to, Gates, Bezos, Soros, Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Ellison and Slim.

QAnon will be sustained by the MSM’s left-wing political bias, on full view every day. When the media is viewed as propaganda instead of reportage, expect people to look for alternate sources - for samizdat - and some of these are either malicious trollware or the products of clinically paranoid minds.

In any event, expect to see more references to Q and QAnon. LaFrance‘s article is not friendly to QAnon but isn’t contemptuous either. It will give you an overview of this shadowy byproduct of worldwide connectivity.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cancel Culture Not Popular

Politico leans left, and makes few bones about it. That is their right. Nevertheless they report findings from a recent Morning Consult poll they commissioned which show that roughly twice as many people oppose "cancel culture" as those who support it.

I don't know about you, I'm not surprised. I believe in the First Amendment which protects people's right to say what's on their minds even if you or I don't like those views or want them spoken aloud, or even thought. It also protects our right to say those views are wrong.

Nothing about the First Amendment protects anyone from being ostracized, fired or anathematized for their expressed views. You have a right to say or write what you will, you have no guarantee that your views will be liked, or accepted as reasonable, or make you popular. Or that you will suffer no consequences for your views. Only that you will suffer no governmental consequences therefore.

Where this gets vague is the rule that yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater is not protected speech, unless there truly is reason to believe a fire exists - smoke, etc. The corollaries of this rule are several.

Suppose a state university believes a student group openly supporting the police will cause violent reactions by its other students and faculty and therefore a real risk of people getting hurt or killed. Is that then speech with which the university - a government institution - can legally interfere? A purist would say "no." I'm reasonably certain several courts have ruled "yes" and I know universities have done so.

Anti-Racism Training

Years ago, as a young university faculty member with a newish Ph.D. in Management, the Federal Government borrowed me from my university for one year that stretched to two. My DC assignment as a temporary expert, was to help them design and implement a program to train research scientists to be managers of research and of science. We got it done and earned kudos for it.

While there I and my whole division were exposed to "anti-racism" training, something in which the Feds took a lead largely before anyone else was doing it. Maybe people have changed dramatically in the intervening years, but probably human nature is relatively static.

We all sat there politely attentive to the training, as was expected. What was interesting was what was said during breaks and after we were back in the office. It was clear almost no one took it seriously except the trainers, and even they seemed to be "going through the motions."

Coworker wisecracks about the general uselessness of "affirmative action hires" were commonplace. In the idiom of the time, comments about which DC suburbs had "good schools" or "not good schools" were euphemistic Fed-speak for the percentage of minority residents of each area.

If anything, anti-racism training appeared to make racism worse. Maybe that is no longer true, I suspect it still is.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Thinking About Social Class

Check out a Paul Mirengoff column for Power Line. He looks at the thesis that much of the unrest troubling our cities is the result of "class struggle, albeit of a peculiar kind." Do yourself a favor and go read the column.

Our universities are overproducing people trained to occupy jobs in what Joel Kotkin calls "the clerisy." When they graduate and don't land the 'professional' jobs they believe they merit, they start thinking capitalism sucks because it didn't come up with the expected glossy job offers. Defunding the police means transferring monies and positions to social welfare and diversity enhancement programs which are arms of the clerisy.

I have to admit I find social class explanations useful in understanding society. In so many ways the anti-Trump feelings among the educated come from his demonstrated identification with blue collar people and their concerns.

Much of the angry heat which is directed at Trump is because he is perceived as a "class traitor." Instead of coming across as a polished, urbane "old money" upper-upper, Trump is perceived as a hyper-successful "new money" upstart who never learned the secret handshake.

Let’s Call Their Bluff

Fox News and other sources are reporting several prominent TV and press figures claiming all Trump voters are “racists.” This raises an interesting question for those individuals.

What do they do if he wins a majority of the the votes in November? What if substantial minorities of non-White voters also vote for his reelection?

Can they justify staying in a country a majority of whose voters they believe are racists? Might they not feel the need to emigrate? Nah, that is a bridge too far.

Has any gottverdammt public progressive ever made good on a threat to emigrate? Since Charlie Chaplin went home to England, I mean? Not that I’ve ever seen.

When the chips are down they want to stay here, whining all the while. They apparently conclude it is worth their being miserable to stay her making us miserable too.

More on the Jersey Shooter

The Western Journal has more details on the suspected shooter at Judge Salas’ home, who killer her son and wounded her husband. The FBI suspect “men’s rights” attorney Roy Den Hollander, who suicided, of the shootings.

Two things are new in the TWJ story, first is that Hollander had terminal cancer. Second, he may have been the shooter in an earlier killing in CA where that gunman also wore a FedEx uniform.

Cancer explains his willingness to die by his own hand, and his out-of-the-mainstream beliefs could explain his animus toward Judge Salas and the lawyer in CA who was also shot.

Just the News also reports that Hollander believed his cancer diagnosis, but doesn’t mention the CA connection. On the other hand, it suggests there may have been other women judges in his crosshairs.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Resistance a Given?

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff writes that he isn't at all sure the losing side in November's election will accept the winner as "legitimate," regardless of who wins. He makes an argument that losing Trump voters would be as likely to view Biden as a fraud as Democrats would view a reelected Trump.

It is a concept I've not seen elsewhere, and I need to think more about it. We already know Democrats will never accept Trump - they haven't so far. Mirengoff believes most Trump voters would never accept Biden and whichever nonentity became his VP.

As long as control of Congress remains split between the two parties, not much change will be possible. Suppose, however, that Democrats have control of both houses and the presidency, Mirengoff writes:
First, what if Democrats gain control of Senate, abolish the filibuster, and grant citizenship and the right to vote to 15 million illegal immigrants, thereby making it nearly impossible for conservative candidates to prevail in national elections and in most congressional ones? Second, what if Democrats impose radical gun control measures, including confiscation — a real possibility if, as many Democrats contemplate doing, they pack the Supreme Court?

In either scenario, I suspect that many conservatives will resist in one serious form or another.
Since most NRA members are conservatives, how do you suppose that scenario will play out? And whose side would the police and the military take? These are questions the answers to which we'd probably rather not learn.

Our choices might boil down to a Czechoslovakia-style velvet divorce, or a Bosnia-style bloody civil war. I don't relish either.

Can’t Make This Up (revised)

Instapundit links to a report by an ABC News local station in Philadelphia which relates the following:
The son of a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, has been shot and killed, and her husband shot and injured in an attack at the family's home, according to law enforcement sources. The judge, Esther Salas, was not hurt.

The judge's son opened the door to the family's North Brunswick home at about 5 p.m. Sunday and was immediately shot, sources said. The judge's husband was then shot multiple times, according to sources.
Instapundit also links to a Newsweek report which adds the following:
On July 15, four days before the shooting, Salas was assigned to the ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies. The suit also alleged the bank failed to properly monitor "high-risk" customers, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Both sources report the shooter appeared to be wearing a FedEx delivery driver’s uniform. How very New Jersey this is, an apparent mob hit on the family of a federal judge. The husband is a criminal defense lawyer who may have his own enemies, perhaps he (not she) was the actual target.

Still, to be safe, double the guards watching Ghislaine Maxwell.

Later ... The FBI believe the shooter was an oddball “men’s rights” attorney who tried a case before Judge Salas 5 years ago. He was found dead later the same day of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot at his home, some two hours away from the Judge's home.

As I write a motive is unknown. What did he imagine he accomplished that was worth exchanging his own life for in consequence? Or was he simply suicidal and asked himself who he would like to take along?

Sunday, July 19, 2020


Do you remember on Friday I wrote the following?
Oregon west of the Cascades is a sort of unfenced asylum for the unhinged and deluded. Expect weirdness and you'll not be disappointed.
Today comes word that eastern Oregon would like to secede and join Idaho. I don't blame them. The Washington Times has the story, hat tip to for the link.
After launching last year, Greater Idaho is collecting signatures in 15 of those counties for ballot measures that direct local officials to participate in negotiations on redrawing Idaho’s state line, a process that has been hampered by the statewide shutdown by Ms. Brown, a Democrat.

The organization filed a lawsuit June 30 in federal court to reduce the number of required valid signatures, arguing that the stay-at-home order has hampered the ability of volunteers to meet the Aug. 5 petition deadline on county ballot measures. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Eastern Oregon would be much happier as part of conservative Idaho. That's supposing Idaho would be willing to take them, which is far from certain. Eastern Oregon is lightly populated and somewhat arid.

A Lesson Learned

I write today about the Navy learning a lesson (the hard way, how else?) that The DrsC learned in the 1970s and 80s. First about the Navy.

Some few years ago the Navy decided to build a series of small ships called the Littoral Combat Ships. The underlying idea of these was that they would be flexible platforms which could be reconfigured to do basically four different missions - surface warfare, anti-submarine, mine countermeasures, and irregular warfare - depending on which portable mission modules were installed on a particular vessel.

It turned out the ship that “could do everything” did nothing well enough to be useful. The order for many ships was cut, and now the Navy is scrapping the first four they received. In their place the Navy is ordering a proven design with more armor, more weapons, and fewer options, a real (if small) warship.

What is the lesson? Something that supposedly can do many things does none of them as well as a system that is specifically designed to do only one thing. The compromises required to do several different things degrades the performance of any one of them.

How did the DrsC learn this lesson the hard way? In 1972, as two teachers with summers off and before we owned a house, we bought a small motorhome. It was a 21 ft. Chinook Class C based on a Dodge van engine, frame and front end. We kept it for 11 years, drove it all over North America including to Alaska, and had a great time doing so even though many aspects of it were a pain in the backside.

The sofa was also the bed as well as where we sat to eat meals. The only part of that it did well was sofa. It backed up to the kitchen counter and when unfolded to a bed, we slept with our legs under the counter. When you rolled over in bed you often painfully kicked the bottom of the silverware drawer or the gooseneck under the sink. If one wanted to go to bed and the other wasn’t sleepy, both couldn’t be accommodated. The mattress wasn’t comfortable and the person who slept next to the wall had to climb over the other person to use the toilet.

Since this is a family blog, I won’t detail the compromises involved in a shower stall containing a fold-down toilet. Use your imagination to see how impractical a fold-down toilet is, or what happens when you forget to remove the TP when showering.

After 11 years, a new radiator, five (!) valve jobs, and about 150,000 miles, we traded the motorhome on a modest 5th wheel trailer which had a dinette, a dedicated bed and a real bathroom with separate shower and toilet. We bought a new pickup to pull it. Talk about a much improved experience of RVing, wow! Night and day. An actual bed, a real table instead of a folding one, a toilet that worked properly - man, oh, man. And we had room for a TV. Everything had one purpose and did it well. Lesson learned.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Trump Voter

Writing at The Hill, John Feehery describes the Trump voter, from an insider's point of view. I think he's got a pretty good handle on who we are, and by strong implication, who we are not.

If you're a regular reader, I think you'll enjoy what he has to say, and agree with most of it. Here's a sample:
The Trump voter got exactly what they expected from this president. Somebody who would shake up the political system, who would stand up to China, who would take on political correctness and who would get the economy moving again.

They would like the president to get a better handle on the COVID-19 panic. It’s a tough situation, sure, but Mr. Trump can’t let the governors close down the economy again. None of us can afford that, especially not the president.

Not Widely Reported

Gateway Pundit reproduces a Tweet by Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer about the NASCAR All Star race in Bristol, TN. She writes of Black driver Bubba Wallace, he of the infamous "noose" door pull controversy:
Bubba Wallace was also booed when he was introduced, and many cheered when he crashed.
Public relations boilerplate to the contrary notwithstanding, NASCAR is red-neck country and likely to stay that way.

Watch a City Dying links to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article reporting that nearly one quarter of the city's sworn police officers - roughly 200 - have filed for disability payments, mostly from PTSD. Citing Ron Meuser, Jr., the attorney handling the claims:
Meuser said most of the officers starting the disability paperwork leave their jobs fairly quickly on a medical leave. The disability claims process can take up to six months.

Meuser said he thinks the city faces a significant police staffing shortage. The vast majority of officers retaining him are seasoned veterans, he said, averaging about 48 years old with at least 20 years of experience.
Imagine the irony if more-or-less the whole department goes out on disability, crippling the city with lifetime disability benefit payments. This would leave Minneapolis in the "no police" situation the city council claims to want.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Portlandia on Stilts

Writing at PJ Media, Victoria Taft notes that Oregon's elected Democrats - the Governor, both Senators, and the mayor of Portland - all support the Antifa rioters who've been raising hell in Portland for the last month and a half. Hat tip to NewsAmmo for the link.

This isn't surprising, Oregon west of the Cascades is a sort of unfenced asylum for the unhinged and deluded. Expect weirdness and you'll not be disappointed.

Afterthought: How perfect that the actor who played the hallucinatory FBI agent in Twin Peaks - Kyle MacLachlan - also played the Mayor in the TV series Portlandia. He’s excellent at underplaying a nut case.

The Sullivan Link

On Tuesday I wrote about Andrew Sullivan leaving New York Magazine, and promised you a link to his final column there. Here it is.

If you go read it, which I don't recommend, you'll discover Sullivan is no conservative. Apparently he differed with the zeitgeist at NYM because he dislikes something called "critical theory," which is Neo-Marxist. To save you the effort, here are his progressive bonafides in a paragraph.
“Conservative” in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.
In other words, the establishment at NYM concluded Sullivan was the wrong kind of progressive - not an actual conservative nor even a centrist - which confessional distinction he takes pains to elucidate.

I imagine it was like serious evangelicals deciding they could not make common cause with a devout Mormon. All true believers but with different understandings of what pleases God.

Another View of Polls links to a David Catron article for The American Spectator. Catron makes the argument that asking people who they believe will win a presidential election produces better predictive results than asking them for whom they plan to vote. He cites research which finds that superiority in 60 cases out of 77 observations where the prediction and intention differed.

Most of the polls you've seen quoted ask about "who you'll vote for." Catron argues this is because it produces results the people paying for the polls hope to see. These same intention polls predicted the Hillary Clinton win that failed to materialize.

The author cites an average of several prediction polls which show 55% of those polled believe Trump will win in November. I hope they're prescient.

Catron doesn't say so but I believe people are more likely to tell the truth when it isn't their own behavior they are predicting, but that of the crowd. What I believe "the voters" will do can't reflect badly on me.

Disturbing? Yes ... News? No

The Daily Beast runs a story with this provocative title:
The Disturbing Rise of Anti-Semitism Among Black Celebs
Anti-Semitism among Black Americans is certainly “disturbing” but it is not news and thus isn’t “rising.” Perhaps it is becoming more overt.

Jesse Jackson famously called Jews “Hymies” and New York “Hymietown” in 1984, some 36 years ago. Louis Farrakhan Sr. has been bad mouthing Jews more-or-less forever. And Al Sharpton was a cheerleader for the Crown Heights anti-Semitic riots in 1991.

I think we have to take it as a given that Jews aren’t popular with substantial segments of the Black community. The referenced celebrities are merely reflecting widely held attitudes.

Positive Factors

Polls show most people support the police, oppose defunding or shrinking them. Research we cited earlier shows that when demonstrations turn violent voters swing toward Republicans. Now the National Association of Police Organizations has endorsed Trump, after endorsing Democrats in 2008 and 2012.

Do you begin to see a pattern here? If, as anticipated, urban disturbances continue throughout the summer, it has to help Trump’s reelection effort, especially with men.

If we can also convince educated white women of Biden’s intent to destroy safe suburbs, these two factors should do the trick. Biden has said he will toughen the AFFH by withholding federal highway maintenance funds from communities which stubbornly retain single family housing zoning.

There goes your cottage with a mortgage and a picket fence, replaced by apartment blocks full of people with no skin in the game. Do we want to be a nation of renters? Hasn’t Covid-19 shown that high density living is dangerous?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Smithsonian Jumps the Shark

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African-American History and Culture has posted a chart purporting to describe "white culture" in the U.S. It is entitled as follows and you can see it for yourself at Steven Hayward's post for Power Line.
Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States
The odd thing is the document is very anti-Black, saying rather clearly that self-reliance, intact families, hard work, and scientific rationality are things Blacks don't do. I would hope middle class Black people are outraged at this effrontery. Hayward makes some of these points.

One of the best analyses of the outlandish document I've seen is by columnist Rod Dreher writing at The American Conservative.
Did David Duke write this stuff? It’s crazy! If a white man said that black people are lazy, can’t keep to a schedule, have no respect for authority, can’t think straight, are rude, etc. — he would be rightly criticized as racist.

But there it is, at the taxpayer-funded National Museum of African American History and Culture.

What kind of neighborhood would you expect to have if most of the people in it devalued hard work, rejected the idea that they needed to be on time, refused to defer gratification, did not respect authority, sought out conflict, laughed at politeness, rejected the traditional family model, and so forth? You’d have communities that were beset by crime and generational poverty, without the cultural tools to overcome the chaos. There are plenty of white people in this country who live by similar rules — and they’re chronically poor too.
Rush Limbaugh said what NMAAHC described is not America's "white culture," it is Western Culture and it is worth defending. I endorse that view.

Later ... NMAAHC has taken the offending chart down. You know the Web, multiple screen captures got there first so it's in the public domain forever and it has their logo all over it.

Somebody at NMAAHC has a tin ear. Their "public info" wallah ought to lose a job over this misstep. The Washington Examiner has a useful column describing the source of the document, its removal, and a discussion of reactions to it.

Whither Laura Ingraham

Anne Applebaum does a long article for The Atlantic on the career arc of Fox News host Laura Ingraham. A lot of it is just history, with a meditation on Laura's belief in Reagan thrown in. Applebaum concludes with this attempt to explain Ingraham's support for Trump.
The America of the present, as she sees it, is a dark, nightmarish place where God speaks to only a tiny number of people; where idealism is dead; where civil war and violence are approaching; where democratically elected politicians are no better than foreign dictators and mass murderers; where the “elite” is wallowing in decadence, disarray, death. The America of the present, as she sees it, and as so many others see it, is a place where universities teach people to hate their country, where victims are more celebrated than heroes, where old values have been discarded.

Any price should be paid, any crime should be forgiven, any outrage should be ignored if that’s what it takes to get the real America, the old America, back.
Count me among her "so many others," important parts of our society appear as bad as described. My personal survival strategy for today's America is to treat it like walking through a barnyard. I step carefully to avoid the worst piles and puddles of manure.

Mine is admittedly a relatively short-run strategy, it should handle the next decade. If I were younger, or had children to worry about, I'd be much more angry and frightened.

Afterthought: Considering Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton and Ghislaine Maxwell were prominent members of the elite, “wallowing in decadence” isn’t too strong a descriptor for their carnal behavior.

A China Policy Rx

COTTonLINE tends to find the foreign policy analysis of George Friedman insightful. See what he writes about the current cold-war conflict between China and the U.S.
Yes, China has grown, but its growth has made it a hostage to its foreign customers. Nearly 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product is generated from exports, 5 percent of which are bought by its largest customer, the United States. Anything that could reduce China’s economy for the long term by about 20 percent is a desperate vulnerability.

China faces a non-military threat from the United States, which relies on exports to China for about half of 1 percent of its GDP. If the U.S. simply bought fewer Chinese products, Washington would damage China without firing a shot. If China is a rising power, it is rising on a very slippery slope without recourse to warfare.

It’s true that China is a rising power, but as I said, it’s rising from the Maoist era. It has a significant military, but that military’s hands are tied until China eliminates its existential vulnerability: dependence on exports. Under these circumstances, the idea of initiating a war is farfetched. More than perhaps any country in the world, China cannot risk a breakdown in the global trading system. Doing so might hurt the U.S. but not existentially.

The United States has no interest in a war in the Western Pacific. Its current situation is satisfactory, and nothing is to be gained from initiating a conflict. The United States is not giving up the Pacific – it fought wars in Korea and Vietnam as well as World War II to keep it. The U.S. can’t invade mainland China or conquer it. It cannot expose its forces to massive Chinese ground forces. In this sense China is secure. China’s fear is maritime – isolation from world markets. And that possibility is there.
 And he adds that China has not been successful in forming alliances with most regional neighbors. North Korea and Russia are the exceptions and neither is especially useful against the U.S. ability to stop buying Chinese products.

So ... the policy prescription is obvious.
Stop buying Chinese products.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Is NATO on Life Support?

Our press isn’t covering the issue, since the U.S. hasn’t taken sides, but two members of NATO - France and Turkey - are backing opposites sides in the civil war happening in Libya. Project Syndicate has the story.

You’ll remember this is the civil war Hillary Clinton triggered as SecState in the Obama administration. She backed the ouster of long-time leader Gaddafi after which the country split into warring factions which seemingly have fought to a draw

Project Syndicate takes the view that we are seeing the slow-motion death of NATO and that its death is a bad thing. I’m guessing what we’re seeing is the beginning of the end of Turkey’s membership in NATO. Ataturk’s secular Turkey was a good fit in NATO, Erdogan’s Islamic Turkey is not.

The U.S. isn’t leaving NATO, but it does want member states to take their own defense seriously. Which is to say that we’re tired of paying for the defense of affluent countries which can afford to do so themselves.

I suppose implicit in the article referenced is that, at the end of the day, several affluent European NATO countries will never muster the political will to make a sustained, well-funded defense effort (looking at you, Germany). In the absence of which, the U.S. may eventually negotiate a new mutual defense pact with that subset of countries which can muster the effort, and abandon NATO. I’d guess this exit, if it happens, is several years, perhaps a decade, away.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Weird Immunological Science

Instapundit links to a United Press International article about an intriguing side effect of a vaccine for TB, apparently widely in use in the third world where TB is common.
The vaccine, which is routinely given to children in countries where TB infection is common, is called Bacille Calmette-Guérin, or BCG for short. It is not widely used in the United States.
There is some preliminary evidence it may be useful in preventing Covid-19.
For the study, Escobar and colleagues at the U.S. National Institutes of Health collected COVID-19 death data from around the world.

They adjusted for variables such as income, access to education and health services, population and age distribution. Through all of the variables, there was a persistent link between higher rates of BCG vaccination and lower peak COVID-19 death rates.

BCG vaccines have been shown to provide broad protection for several viral respiratory illnesses in addition to tuberculosis, he noted.
Faster, please.

Sullivan Leaves NY Mag

Coincidentally, on the same day Bari Weiss resigned at The New York Times (see prior post), Andrew Sullivan resigned at New York Magazine. Like Weiss, Sullivan was a sometimes conservative voice at a publication that leaned the other way, this is always a tough role to take on.

A quick search shows I cited two of Sullivan's articles last year. Sullivan says he will explain his departure in his final column on Friday. I hope to bring you a link to that discussion later in the week.

Friends, bad things are happening to voices which don't slavishly toe the "progressive" line. Cancel culture appears to be winning battles. We need to hand them a gigantic, soul-crushing defeat on November 3. You know what to do, be certain you do it. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

NYT Circles the Drain

Steven Hayward of Power Line posts fairly extensive excerpts of the letter of resignation written by Bari Weiss as she leaves an editorial position at The New York Times. She as much as accuses the NYT of becoming the American left's version of Pravda, a total party line propaganda rag. A couple of choice quotes:
The paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. . .

[T]he truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. (snip) And so self-censorship has become the norm.
From "newspaper of record" to "ideological megaphone" in maybe a decade, that's damned sad. Are things so tough for the press that this is what is required to elude bankruptcy? I refuse to believe it.

Later ... Steve has now posted the entire letter at the above site, as an addendum. It is beautifully written and I enjoyed reading the whole thing, maybe you will too.

Monday, July 13, 2020


At her CruzTalking Two blog, the other DrC has a very charming recollection of her days helping with her family's home canning of fruit. Her mom, something of a force of nature, cajoled the neighborhood kids into helping. I think you'll enjoy her memories, I know I did.

She has me thinking about my days helping my own mom home can fruit, jam, and pickles. The fruit and jam were fine but I hated the way pickles and green tomato relish made the house smell. I don't like to eat either and I really hated the smell of hot vinegar, but I ground up bushels of green tomatoes.

Our family moved from LA to the country when I was in 3rd grade. Our place in Hollywood became freeway right-of-way and we moved to our weekend cabin one county up the coast.

That one room cabin sat in an orange orchard and so from about age 8 I grew up in the country, riding a big yellow bus to school. A couple of years later we expanded the cabin into a nice home where I lived until I went away to college. I made the money for my first car trapping gophers out of that orange orchard - left alone gophers kill the trees.

Our place there had formerly been an apricot orchard of which three old trees remained. We had all the 'cots we could eat, plus apricot pies. We canned dozens of quarts of 'cots and dozens of pints of apricot pineapple jam. We also canned boysenberry jam, apple butter, and occasionally plum jam.

Oddly, we never made marmalade. We grew Valencias - juice oranges - picked by braceros working for the Sunkist packing plant. Dad and I didn't drink much of the juice, but mom liked it.

In later years I’ve claimed to be the stereotypical Californian: “Born in Hollywood, and grew up in an orange orchard.” Every word of it true, too.

Mid-20th century California was an amazing place, a near-paradise. People had largely ruined it by century’s end. The other DrC and I no longer call it home, though we still visit non-urban areas where a bit of its former magic persists.

Last Chance? Not This Year

The cover story in the new issue of Time magazine is headlined:
2020 Is Our Last, Best Chance to Save the Planet
Let me say up front, I have no idea if that is true. Environmentalists have cried “Wolf“ so often that they’ve taught us to ignore their plaintive cries.

While I have no idea if this time they are finally correct (pun intended), I can give you a prediction I know to be true. If they are correct, then the planet is really and truly, for certain, scr*wed. With Covid-19 abroad in the land, the environment is going to get little attention for the next couple of years.

The thing that can kill you in the next month always gets way more attention than the thing that can kill you in the next decade. Of course there is always the possibility that Covid-19 will solve the problem by killing half of us humans and vastly reducing our impact on the environment. That is how nature’s balance normally works.

Dang, I am not very cheerful on this Monday morning.

Further Thoughts re Bridgeable Gap

With his column referenced below, Hinderaker posts a map in the by-now classical red and blue, showing the states carried by Trump and those carried by Mrs. Clinton. If the separation into two countries along those lines should occur, the Red country has interior lines of communication, the Blue country does not.

Presumably some treaty permitting transit would be negotiated. However, to the extent that the various non contiguous parts of the Blue country represent different ethnic populations, is there not some likelihood that they will eventually further separate into several more countries, as did East and West Pakistan?

It is likely the Blue country would operate a European model of high taxes, well-funded social welfare services, on the order of France or Scandinavia. The Red country would take more of a low tax, opportunity-based capitalist model. Free movement between the two would exist for some period of months or years, but presumably not be open-ended.

The trouble with Hinderaker’s map is that essentially every large city in the current U.S. would want to be in the Blue country, including places like St. Louis, Denver, Atlanta, and Houston. On the other hand, every rural area including upstate NY, downstate IL and Central Valley CA would want to be in the Red country. There is just no way to have a country of cities, and another of rural areas, all mixed up - or is there?

I’m remembering the walled Chicago of the SciFi film Divergent. Maybe that’s the way we go, with cities as Singapore-style independent (or allied) city states and the rural parts of America being “another country” operating under different, looser rules.

Could this model work? I wonder if Divergent author Veronica Roth saw herself as a prophet? Or maybe the prophet was Harry Harrison with his Make Room, Make Room novel on which the Soylent Green film was based. I’d even make a case for Lee Kuan Yew, the designer of Singapore, as the real “father” of the successful modern city state.

It is looking like we’re going to get the chance to learn what will and won’t work, by trial and error. Because as Hinderaker points out, what we’re doing now is not working.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Is the Gap Bridgeable?

Power Line's John Hinderaker asks some pointed questions about life in 21st century America.
Is there any basis on which we can share governance of America with people who hate our country and our traditions, institutions, culture and freedoms? Why, exactly, should we want to do so? Is there any set of shared assumptions and values that will allow normal Americans and leftists to work together as fellow citizens? One begins to wonder.
He imagines the outcome will be either separation into two countries or extreme federalism, which are alternatives I've explored. His column isn't too long and the whole thing is worth your time.

Don’t Reward a Tantrum

I write this Sunday morning to share a concern I have regarding the Nov. 3 election. Others have written similar things, I’m too lazy to look them up and cite them.

My concern is that people will be so tired of all the #NeverTrump hysteria, Cancel Culture crap, impeachment hearings, riots, and generalized anger being exhibited by nearly every organ of the media, the arts, academia, and anyone else with a soapbox, that they will vote for Joe Biden just to get some peace.

And I believe this is the intent of those generating the unpleasantness. I imagine them thinking if we make enough noise, exhibit enough anger, raise enough false claims of outrageous motives and behavior, people will be so hassled they’ll vote for Sleepy Joe so we’ll shut up. And if it works as they hope, they’ll be rewarded for their mischief and do it again to the next GOP president.

Because you and I and everyone else knows if Sleepy Joe is elected the entire collection of cultural expression outlets will roll over and play dead for four years, minimum. Peace will reign, all will be sweetness and light, however he manages to botch the job, we’ll never hear about it.

We know this because we never heard about all the screw-ups of his mentor. Barack Obama was a genuinely poor president but the press covered for him and told us everything was okay. It wasn’t, but nobody bothered us with the sordid details.

And we know we’d get the same bland “everything’s okay storyline” about a Biden administration. I worry that the prospect of this will be enough to make the difference for Biden, and I worry that it is no accident things turned out this way.

It is important not to reward childish tantrum behavior, for that is what this is.  We seriously need another “this is the flight 93 election” wake-up call. Sadly I’m not the one to write it, this is my feeble attempt.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Weird Marine Mammal Science

National Geographic reports (with photos) the sighting of a beluga whale off the coast of San Diego. Normally a dweller in the far North, nobody knows what it was doing so far south.

Unlike most whales, belugas are totally white, gregarious and maybe 15 feet long. This one appeared to be alone, which is very uncommon, and from external examination at some distance, healthy-looking.
Beluga whales typically restrict themselves to the Arctic and sub-Arctic waters off the coasts of Canada, Greenland, Russia, Scandinavia, and Alaska.
The one time in my life I saw beluga whales, the other DrC and I were in Churchill, Manitoba. We had taken the train north from rural Saskatchewan, to Churchill which is on the shores of Hudson Bay. There were a whole pod of belugas just offshore in the Bay, very visible in the icy water.

That trip was an adventure - the train rocked and rolled along at maybe 25 mph on rails laid over permafrost through hundreds of miles of taiga. Taiga is the name for stunted forests of small, sickly conifers growing atop permafrost.

The rail line existed so the prairie provinces could ship grain from the elevators at Churchill to Europe via Hudson Bay. It was down for a couple of years but began shipping grain (and passengers) again less than a year ago.

The entire year's shipping season at Churchill lasts maybe 8 summer weeks, during which Lloyd's will permit ships to transit that far north. It is a much shorter route than down to the Great Lakes and then out the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic.

Taking the train to Churchill is great fun if you like train travel, and it is the only way to go other than flying. There are no roads connecting Churchill to the rest of Canada.

The Year 2020, Symbolically

Source: The Week in Pictures (scroll down), by Steven Hayward of Power Line.

Request Denied links to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article which reports the Federal Government has denied a request by MN Governor Walz for disaster relief to rebuild 1500 buildings destroyed in the riots. Good, if true.

I hope President Trump refuses disaster aid to every city that ordered the police stand down and let the rioters burn and loot. Also refuses to aid every governor who refused to call out his National Guard to preserve peace and property.

George Floyd was killed in what appears to have been a wrongful manner by police. This is appropriately dealt with by charging the offender(s) with homicide, convicting them, and applying the usual penalties. It is possible their superiors are also negligent but that is, or should be, a civil matter unless it can be demonstrated they ordered the wrongful death.

Floyd's death is no excuse to permit justifiably angry people to destroy significant parts of every large city in the land. Those mayors and governors who tacitly condoned violence by standing down police and troops charged with keeping the peace are complicit in what happened.

Acronym Alert links to a Gateway Pundit piece with this title:
WOW! NBC Guest Doctor Who Was Suffering from Coronavirus in Hospital in TV Interviews — NEVER HAD CORONAVIRUS! (VIDEO)
The story improves our understanding of the acronym NBC, it appears to stand for:
Never Believe this Crap
Poor Chet Huntley has to be spinning in his Big Sky grave, a hundred miles north of here. The network once took the idea of “news” seriously.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Weird Anthropological Science

DNA research reported in the respected science journal Nature shows early contact and interbreeding between Polynesians and South American Indians. Somewhere the ghost of Thor Heyerdahl snarls "I told you so" even if he did get the directionality exactly backwards.

One thing that confirms the idea is the widespread cultivation of the sweet potato in Polynesia since pre-Columbian times, although it originated in Central and South America. The researchers believe that contact was made by Polynesians sailing east, as they were serious open ocean navigators with their twin hulled canoes.

I think of Polynesians as the astronauts of their era. Or maybe earlier versions of Kirk and Spock, quite literally “boldly going where no men had gone before.” Hat tip to the New York Post for the link.

You Can't Make This Up

Really, you cannot make up stuff like the following, it would seem too far-fetched, too on the nose. Check out this from Instapundit, who is quoting Heather Mac Donald in The Wall Street Journal (possibly behind paywall):
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is a peer-reviewed journal that claims to publish “only the highest quality scientific research.” Now, the authors of a 2019 PNAS article are disowning their research simply because I cited it.

Psychologists Joseph Cesario of Michigan State and David Johnson of the University of Maryland analyzed 917 fatal police shootings of civilians from 2015 to test whether the race of the officer or the civilian predicted fatal police shootings. Neither did. Once “race specific rates of violent crime” are taken into account, the authors found, there are no disparities among those fatally shot by the police. These findings accord with decades of research showing that civilian behavior is the greatest influence on police behavior.

In September 2019, I cited the article’s finding in congressional testimony. I also referred to it in a City Journal article, in which I noted that two Princeton political scientists, Dean Knox and Jonathan Mummolo, had challenged the study design. Messrs. Cesario and Johnson stood by their findings. Even under the study design proposed by Messrs. Knox and Mummolo, they wrote, there is again “no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by the police.”

On Monday they retracted their paper. They say they stand behind its conclusion and statistical approach but complain about its “misuse,” specifically mentioning my op-eds. The authors don’t say how I misused their work. Instead, they attribute to me a position I have never taken: that the “probability of being shot by police did not differ between Black and White Americans.” To the contrary, I have, like them, stressed that racial disparities in policing reflect differences in violent crime rates. The only thing wrong with their article, and my citation of it, is that its conclusion is unacceptable in our current political climate.
Retracting the article was probably part of the price they paid for keeping their jobs or their research funding, if in fact they are able to do so. The per capita crime rates of Blacks and Hispanics are substantially higher than those for whites and Asians. Noting this is a good way to lose one's career and reputation. As a retiree I have neither to lose, so I mention it.


A quick story from my distant past. An undergraduate roommate, now dead, did a doctorate in research psychology at Berkeley. As a grad assistant he helped with a study that examined non-verbal measures of intelligence in pre-schoolers.

The intent was to show there were no differences across racial groups. When the data was crunched, they found politically incorrect significant differences: Asians were smarter than whites who were smarter than Hispanics who were smarter than Blacks.

This was exactly what the "awful racist" Shockley had claimed. My friend ruefully reported the research was never published.

The "wrong" results would have harmed the researchers' careers even more than the resulting two year publishing "dry spell." My friend's career was also damaged as he was unable to coauthor follow-on articles with the researchers, since none were written.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thursday Snark

Instapundit reacts to a headline about a Canadian university pressured into referring to Taiwan as “a province of China.”
Taiwan is a province of China like Canada is a province of the United States.
Actually, in addition to its considerable snark value, that isn’t a bad analogy. Canada never overthrew British rule, still recognizes the Queen as their sovereign. We had a revolution, they never did. China had a revolution, Taiwan never did. Both Taiwan and Canada evolved to independence. The parallels are considerable.

A Thursday Question

How is it that painting over BLM graffiti on a CA street is a "hate crime" whereas black-on-white assault and battery is not? I think I know the answer.

We are reaping the whirlwind of Soros-supported lefty prosecutors. Nothing good can come from this sort of bias.

The Idea Catches On

Since June 1 and 19, I have been writing about the spooky parallels between the latter days of the Woodrow Wilson presidency and the current state of a potential Joe Biden presidency. In each case an impaired principal has been coached through it by a supportive spouse.

I certainly recognize the benefits of both having, and being, a supportive spouse. But we do not wish to have impaired, or de facto shadow, presidents.

Others are beginning to make this connection. For example, Stephen Green at Instapundit links to a Stephen Kruiser Morning Briefing column at PJ Media which makes this same point, albeit in a rather snarky fashion.
When Crazy Joe the Wonder Veep’s handlers first began letting him do videos from his quarantine basement, Jill was often sitting at his side, grinning like a proud mother whose idiot underachieving kid had just successfully recited the alphabet for the first time. It was, quite frankly, very creepy to watch.

The longer the Joe Biden Obvious Decline Circus is allowed to go on, the more I’m convinced that Jill Biden is a power-hungry madwoman who so desperately wants to be in the White House that she is willing to subject her husband to what has now become bipartisan ridicule.
Even the NYT's Tom Friedman is worried about Slow Joe.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

NYPD Dispirited

New York City is experiencing a big surge in police retirements, the most recent week saw four times as many as the same week last year. The New York Post has the story.

Since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, 500+ NYPD cops have filed to retire. My calculations find that was 1.5% of the department's sworn officers leaving, in roughly 39 days. If that rate were to continue for the next year, NYPD would be down 13-14% of its force.

Given the reduction in their budget, it appears the retirees won't be replaced. You have to wonder how far things will have to deteriorate before New Yorkers vote in another Giuliani to clean up the mess?

Perhaps, like Baltimore and Detroit, the outmigration of decent people will pass the tipping point. Experience shows this leaves the dispirited remainder to sink further into the morass, unable to stomach a return to the "broken windows" policing their situation requires.

Confucius Institutes Under Fire

A couple of days ago, I wrote (scroll down) that the U.S. needs to eject the Confucius Institutes at various U.S. universities. Now University Times reports that a rebranding has taken place.
The Chinese government has rebranded Confucius Institutes as centres for “language exchange and cooperation”, after years of international criticism over the use of the institutes for propaganda and censorship.
A number of universities have closed their Confucius Institutes, both in the U.S. and Europe. It is unclear whether the remaining units will adopt the new name, as the headquarters has done.

We should send them packing.

An Awkward Truth

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is a wounded U.S. combat veteran, of mixed Thai and U.S. parentage. She has said some things recently, in reference to the President's Mt. Rushmore speech, that have bordered on ridiculous. When criticized she has fallen back on reminding us of her suffering for the nation.

I am moved to observe that suffering for our nation does not automatically make a veteran a brilliant politician. Both Sens. Duckworth and the late John McCain are examples of this. Both served bravely, suffered mightily, and I honor their sacrifices.

On the other hand, as politicians both have shown deficient judgment and crankiness. In the same way that being photogenic and having acting or music talent does not make one an expert on domestic and foreign policy, being a veteran likewise doesn't guarantee wisdom.

One could wish this wasn't true, but it is demonstrably the case. Some veterans, like President Eisenhower, Sens. Dole and Cotton, also have political talent; others like Sens. Duckworth and McCain ... not so much.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sabotage in Iran

A column at PJ Media claims that at least some of the various explosions and fires in Iran are Israeli sabotage of Iran's nuclear effort. Others may be the actions of an anti-regime group within Iran. It cites the New York Times as a source, behind their paywall.

The claim is made that the Iranian nuclear weapon effort has been set back two years. One hopes it is accurate. Since Iran keeps wishing death to Israel, it's only fair if Israel arranges some reciprocity.

About Bubonic Plague

The press is making something of several cases of bubonic plague that have popped up in China. I wouldn't get too worried. As an WHO official says, bubonic is around. For example, California has a case or two every year. No kidding.

Bubonic mostly lives in the rodent population - squirrels, rats, voles, etc. It passes to humans when humans are bitten by fleas from an infected rodent.

In CA this most often happens when an unsuspecting child comes across a rodent that is acting "tame," which is to say unafraid. The rodent is actually too sick to flee, but not dead. The kid handles the rodent, is bitten by its fleas, gets sick, and usually is diagnosed in time to cure him or her.

Ailurophobes, take heed. The Bubonic plagues in medieval Europe could mostly have been prevented if many people had kept house cats around to kill rodents.

Sadly, cats were viewed as evil, often as "familiars" of witches, and avoided in those years. Supposed witches were often tried and executed.